Column: I want my daughter to explore and learn to value her soul rather than looks

It’s time to get the walking shoes out and baby-proof every aspect of our lives because Savannah is standing up all on her own. It won’t be long now until she is fluttering her arms in the wind to propel herself away from her dad and I in a friendly game of catch the speedy baby. The time has come for her to become my little explorer, getting into everything, like I did myself as a child.

In one instance, I got into my mother’s makeup drawer and located one lipstick tube that I wanted to put on my 5-year-old lips. My mom didn’t want me playing in her makeup, so I did it one day while she was at work.

It was a dark shade, something that resembled the color of wine. I smeared it on, looking like a vampiress of the night (I watched way too much of “Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles” growing up).

Feeling confident in my lip application I went to put the lid back on, but instead of closing it with no trace of my hands ever touching it, the lipstick was smashed down to its stump.

My heart sank with fear, I thought my mom was going to be so upset with me, so my young mind planned on telling her the sun melted it. Yes, the sun melted it while it sat in a drawer that was nowhere near sunlight.

My mom returned home and she found her favorite lipstick smashed as her daughter explained that it was probably the sun that melted it.

I felt so guilty that I broke down and told her that I was to blame. She was so proud of me that she did not punish me. Instead, she thanked me for being honest and continued asking me why I got into her drawer in the first place.

My 5-year-old self replied with the innocent fact that I wanted to be pretty like mommy and the girls in the movies like Olivia Newton-John and Michelle Pfeiffer. There has always been pressure to imitate the appearance of models and movie stars.

My mother sat me down and told me that I’m beautiful without makeup and I don’t need it, but if I wanted to use something then to ask her for permission next time so she could help. next time to just ask her for permission so she could help. As a child, I brushed it off and thought, “Yeah, yeah, whatever you say mommy.”

It wasn’t until shortly after that incident that she bought me my own child makeup kit. From my memory, it was a deep purple box with multiple compartments for eyeshadows and lip glosses.

There was a point in my life where I couldn’t feel pretty unless I had makeup on. It was more of a chore that I felt I needed to do to make me feel beautiful. Now, I can see past that. There are so many more important things in life than not feeling good enough or pretty enough, like spending the morning with my daughter instead of taking an hour to apply precise winged eyeliner.

When I do my makeup now, it is more for artistic expression than a mask of confidence. I hope to pass these beliefs onto Savannah because I want her to know that makeup is a form of expression that can be fun, but I want her to also know that makeup doesn’t make a person beautiful, their soul doesbut their soul.

So I’ll wake to my Savannah sunrise, a bright one-toothed smile that reaches across my daughter’s entire face out from the satisfaction of successfully standing up on her own and waking me up. I’ll bend down to kiss her smooth marshmallow cheek and embrace her with love and show her on a daily basis that she is a beautiful soul, inside and out.

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